Last year I set off on a quest, my #EpicPoeticOdyssey, with a goal of memorising a poem a month. The idea was simply to expose myself to more poetry, to awaken my soul to the art form, to exercise my brain, and to enrich my writing. I continue my quest this year.
January is a month of fresh starts. It’s deep winter to some, heavy summer to others. To me, January is about Australia, with 26 January being Australia Day, so with that in mind, my poem for January is by beloved Australian poet Henry Lawson.
Oh gosh, this poem stirs me. It’s about the effect of words on the hearts of humans. It speaks of the power of poetry to connect, and also of the poet’s desire and effort to forge the connection. How I love it!
Will Yer Write It Down For Me?
In the parlour of the shanty where the lives have all gone wrong,
When a singer or reciter gives a story or a song,
Where the poet’s heart is speaking to their hearts in every line,
Till the hardest curse and blubber at the thoughts of Auld Lang Syne;
Then a boozer lurches forward with an oath for all disguise,
Prayers and curses in his soul, and tears and liquor in his eyes,
Grasps the singer or reciter with a death-grip by the hand:
‘That’s the truth, bloke! Sling it at ’em! Oh! Gorbli’me, that was grand!
‘Don’t mind me; I’ve got ’em. You know! What’s yer name, bloke! Don’t yer see?
‘Who’s the bloke what wrote the po’try? Will yer write it down fer me?’
And the backblocks’ bard goes through it, ever seeking as he goes
For the line of least resistance to the hearts of men he knows;
And he tracks their hearts in mateship, and he tracks them out alone,
Seeking for the power to sway them, till he finds it in his own,
Feels what they feel, loves what they love, learns to hate what they condemn,
Takes his pen in tears and triumph, and he writes it down for them.
Oh yes, that’s it exactly, the writer’s heart distilled in verse. The ‘backblocks’ bards’ seek the power to sway. Here’s to finding ‘the line of least resistance’ this year…